The Bedford High School Varsity Cheerleading team will be heading into this weekend’s competition, in style!
After nearly a year of effort, the squad’s vision for a revival of the traditional varsity letter jacket kicked off Thursday night at a ceremony, where 24 varsity cheerleaders from the fall and winter teams received their coveted Bedford Buccaneer jackets. The athletes also received their achievement pins, provided by BHS Athletics, signifying and celebrating their commitment as varsity student-athletes.
“From my perspective, anyone who has a varsity jacket earned it. And now that I have one, I realized that all my hard work has paid off. I earned this jacket with the commitment I put into cheerleading. It’s the best award one can receive as an athlete!” said BHS Senior Fall and Winter Cheer Captain Liv DiSaronno.
As one part of the sport of cheerleading is competition (the Winter Cheer team heads to the “Blizzard Bash” cheer invitational and regional qualifier this weekend at Wilmington High), another aspect of cheerleading is inspiring and amplifying school spirit. The vision of the “Varsity Jacket Revival” is not just for these two dozen athletes to don the Bedford Blue and White as a tradition, or for those who may already have a similar jacket at BHS, but for other teams to get involved as well, unified as “Bedford Buccaneers.”
The new cheerleading jackets are a full throw-back design – royal blue wool body, white leather sleeves, “Bedford Buccaneers” across the back, chenille varsity B letter applique on the chest, and embroidered with a cheer megaphone and the athlete’s name. The jackets are built to last.
This type of achievement apparel is a point of pride and has historically been something of a rite of passage for high school students. More recently, they have become significant in pop culture and fashion trends on shows such as “Stranger Things,” “Riverdale,” and “All American,” to name a few.
BHS Senior and Fall Cheer Captain Libby Squire said, “Receiving my varsity jacket last night was a moment I will never forget. It was bittersweet since my time cheering for BHS has come to an end. I will always have my varsity jacket to carry the four years of memories with me for the rest of my life. The jacket itself is amazing, the little detailing was just spectacular and getting to put on all the pins just made it that much better. I cannot thank the BHS Cheer Boosters enough for making this happen, they provided me with an opportunity to have a piece of memorabilia that I can bring with me to wherever life takes me.” And that’s exactly what the Cheer Boosters club was hoping to accomplish.
The parent/caregiver supporters of the cheerleading team created a booster organization in June 2022, dedicated to supporting the fall and winter cheerleading teams by raising funds to supplement the cost of uniforms, apparel, training, and other expenses, and socially by advocating in general for these teams. It was this group who banded together around the idea of a “Varsity Jacket Revival” at BHS and received unequivocal excitement from the cheerleaders.
BHS Senior Cheer Captain of the fall and winter teams Shane Metcalf said, “I’m proud of my varsity jacket and of the accomplishments we’ve had as a team over the years, including bringing back this trend at BHS and supporting school spirit!”
Pamela Wetherbee-Metcalf, the Cheerleading Booster Club President and an alumna of BHS, initially brought up the idea of the jackets after seeing similar jackets prevalent across teams at other schools and remembering jackets that she and her classmates had when she was a student-athlete at BHS. The Cheer Booster Board members pushed forward the initiative and the varsity cheerleaders and their families supported the effort, to help it come to fruition. The hope is that the “revival” will continue to spread more popularly and uniformly across other teams at BHS and will return to becoming an emblem of school pride.
If other teams are interested in knowing how to make varsity jackets for teams a reality, the BHS Cheerleading Booster Club welcomes questions at [email protected].
The team and Boosters club offer a special thanks to Ken’s NY Deli in Bedford for hosting the jacket event and for their support as a BHS Varsity Cheerleading sponsor!